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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The UK Government are confident that their legislation on sex discrimination and wider provisions on gender equality broadly cover the rights and freedoms within the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
What practical benefits are likely to result for women in the United Kingdom, in terms of equal rights with men, as a result of the right to petition the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, under the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. [HL4065]
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Following the Government's decision to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), women in the UK may now petition the UN committee on issues either not covered by domestic legislation or when they have no other international right of appeal available.
What representations the Department of Health has received from Mrs Sue Threakall, whose husband died of hepatitis infection from contaminated National Health Service blood products, in regard to the ex gratia payments scheme administered by the Skipton Fund; what reply they are sending; and whether there is any action they will be taking. [HL4004]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The £33.7 million represents the projected cost of the entire Transport Direct programme from its inception in April 2002 until the end of the current financial year. This includes the cost of developing the portal, comprising contracting costs, hardware, data and project costs. The remainder is being spent on future enhancements to the portal, including delivery through other media; development of the JourneyWeb protocol (that allows different systems to communicate with each other); development of internationally recognised technical standards; further development of real-time information; publicity and marketing. The programme is currently running under budget.
The initial performance target is to receive 1 million users in the first 12 months following full public launch, growing to a total of 10 million users by the end of 2006. If these targets are met, the project will be considered to have represented value for money. However, at this early stage, it is not possible to gauge the success of the project on value for money grounds.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Both control authorities, in execution of their regulatory responsibilities, and private industry in response to their legitimate concerns, have installed and maintain CCTV systems in and around Heathrow airport. The number in operation at any one time depends upon current operations.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The UK Civil Aviation Authority currently has no plans to develop global positioning system (GPS) overlays for current
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instrument approach plates in an attempt to exactly replicate existing flight profiles based on terrestrial navigation systems. Once procedures have been developed that safely permit approaches using data from global navigation satellite system (GNSS) sources, new procedures will be designed to ensure that the appropriate design requirements are incorporated.
How many representations they have had concerning the decision not to approve Manchester Metrolink; what replies they have had sent; and whether they will now urgently reconsider the decision. [HL4159]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Her Majesty's Government have received over 700 letters concerning the decision to withdraw approval for funding for the Manchester Metrolink Phase III extensions. Replies have been sent explaining that the reason for the decision was the substantial further increase in costs; and that the Department for Transport will work with the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE), as promoters for Metrolink, on developing alternative proposals. The department will consider carefully any alternative proposals. There have been 22 Parliamentary Questions concerning the decision on Metrolink. On 9 September the Secretary of State for Transport met a group of Greater Manchester MPs to discuss Metrolink.
What steps are being taken to introduce an aviation weather satellite system similar to that which is available in the United States, enabling real-time weather information to be downloaded direct to in-flight aeroplanes. [HL4149]
Lord Davies of Oldham: No International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards or recommended practices currently exist for the in-flight dissemination of satellite-based meteorological data. However, the ICAO Metlink Study Group, of which the UK is a member, is developing such criteria and this work is expected to be completed by 2007.
Lord Davies of Oldham: No. Her Majesty's Government do not believe it should set arbitrary restrictions on the ability of local authorities to design congestion charging schemes that respond effectively to local congestion problems.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Two representations have been received from UK operatorsStan Robinson (Stafford) Ltd (September 2003), and Denby Transport Ltd (May 2004)each seeking to trial, on UK public roads, vehicles that they have independently developed. Both operators have been advised that the vehicles that they have developed, which are longer and have a greater maximum mass capacity than that currently permitted, will not be allowed on UK roads.
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